Go Pens! … Nothing wrong with Barmes

As I write, the Penguins are up on the Capitals, 4-0, in the second period of Game 7. How cool.

Good comment on yesterday’s blog: infielder Clint Barmes has been notably absent from the starting lineup, and he isn’t starting tonight, either. It would make some sense to have him at second as another left-handed bat against Astros lefty Mike Hampton. Plus, Barmes hasn’t been in the lineup since Friday, when he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts against the Marlins.

Checked with Barmes today. He’s not injured and says he’s ready to play when needed.

A few factors keep Barmes out of the lineup:

– The Rockies are giving third baseman Garrett Atkins more time to overcome his almost season-long hitting slump. Manager Clint Hurdle said he gives a younger player abotu 100 at-bats and a player of Atkins’ experience about 150 at-bats to find his form.

– Stewart hit two home runs last night agianst the Astros. He also has a history of hitting lefties well.

“I want to see him against this left-hander, Mike [Hampton],” Hurdle said. “We know him a little bit, not that ‘Stew’ does. Just watching tape and historically, Mike gets outs. There’s no doubt he can get people out. His walks-to-strikeouts ratio is better against left-handers but the batting average is pretty similar, .284 to .281.

“‘Stew’ still has a pretty good history of hitting left-handed pitching. [Thursday starter Wandy] Rodriguez could present more of a challenge. He’s just off to a tremendous start this year, overall and especially against left-handed hitters. And I want to play off the momentum he was able to create and bring to the table yesterday.”

Here are both lineups:

Astros

Kazuo Matsui            2B

Michael Bourn           CF

Lance Berkman         1B

Carlos Lee                 LF

Miguel Tejada            SS

Hunter Pence            RF

Geoff Blum                3B

Humberto Quintero      C

Mike Hampton            P

Rockies

Dexter Fowler           CF

Troy Tulowitzki         SS

Todd Helton              1B

Ryan Spilborghs        LF

Brad Hawpe              RF

Garrett Atkins           3B

Chris Iannetta             C

Ian Stewart                2B

Jason Marquis             P

3 Comments

The Pens looked great tonight! I’ve got great tickets to tomorrow’s game right behind third base in section 141… I really hope to see Atkins playing there!!! His slump is killing me!
Emily
http://deconstructingthoughts.mlblogs.com/

Thanks for looking into this for me, Thomas! I sure hope Hurdle’s willingness to let Atkins keep going stops after last night’s performance — Atkins again was awful (as he has been since last season with anyone in scoring position) and Barmes came off the bench and had two singles with an RBI. I sure hope when I show up to the park today that I see Stewart at third and Barmes at second (although I suppose if Tulo is still hurt, Barmes could be at short). That is certainly what is best for the team at this point.

Hey JS…
On one page in this blog, you criticize Hurdle for pulling guys like Street from the line up before they get “settled in”. On this page, you criticize him for not pulling Atkins soon enough. Nice contradiction, and way to throw a career .293 hitter under the bus. Now that the Rockies went 1-3 with Atkins out of the line up, will you give Hurdle a break? If managing a team were easy, you could do it.

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